Many job seekers make the mistake of only targeting large companies. While you may be more familiar with the bigger brands, you don’t want to cut yourself off from potential opportunities. Consider the benefits that smaller companies have to offer.
It can be easier to get your foot in the door. Because they are the companies that everyone thinks of first, large organizations receive a lot of applications. This increased competition can make it difficult to get a position. You may find a job more quickly if you also apply to some smaller companies.
You have the opportunity to try a variety of tasks. Since there are less people working at a small company, the job descriptions tend to be more broad. At a large company, you usually have one specific task, whereas at a smaller company, you often end up doing a little bit of everything. When you have the opportunity to try different tasks, you get a better understanding of what you enjoy, and you also expand your profile for future opportunities.
You can connect with the leadership of the organization. When you are hired for an entry level position at a large company, it may be months before you have the opportunity to meet the president. However, at a small company, you could quite conceivably meet with the president every day. This connection with the leadership of the company allows you to learn from someone who is much further along in their career. These company leaders also make excellent references and networking contacts.
You can help set the direction of the company. In large companies, most of the decisions are made at a high level, and it can be difficult to see your contribution. However, at a small company, it is easier to make your voice heard.
You may have more networking opportunities. When you are working at a small company, you may have access to special networking opportunities. For example, you could be sent to represent the company at meetings, conferences, or events that would be reserved for people in higher level positions at a larger company. These are excellent opportunities to network with people who work in your industry.
It can feel like a family. For better or worse, small companies can feel a bit like a family; you get to know each other, you work closely together, you have disagreements, and you really notice when someone is not there. While the closeness of a small organization can be challenging, the relationships that you build with your co-workers can last long after you have left the company.
Whether or not you enjoy working at a small company will largely depend on your working style, your values, and your career goals. The best approach is to consider every option, and to find the environment that works best for you.
(Written by: Karen Bivand)